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Ethical Hacking for Computer Security BSc (Hons)

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Image: Ethical Hacking for Computer Security COURSE INFORMATION (2014 ENTRY)

3 years full-time or 4 years sandwich

Engineering and Environment
Pandon Building, Newcastle City Campus

For students at overseas partner institutions, this programme is known as BSc (Hons) Computer Security.

This cutting-edge programme has been created to meet a global demand for expertise in designing secure digital systems. The programme draws on our leading position in research, consultancy and collaboration with Northumbria Police, the Counter-Terrorism Unit, and the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA).

As an ‘Ethical Hacker’ you will learn skills that will enable you to locate and strengthen security weaknesses in computer systems. A common phrase that describes this process is ‘penetration testing,’ where specialised tools are used to ‘hack’ into systems and then determine weaknesses of given system configuration. Known fixes are then applied to remove these weaknesses.

This programme has been developed to meet the rapidly emerging need for organisations to address their systems’ security, and will also cover the fundamental principles of computer and network technologies, analysing computing and networking tools and techniques.

The course addresses the requirements of BCS accreditation and the expectations of other organisations such as Skills for Justice and the Forensic Science Society are also embedded in the programme.


The programme is delivered through a range of lectures, seminars and practical workshops which will enable you to develop the skills you need to be an ethical hacking professional. You will work with industry-standard equipment in dedicated network security laboratories, giving you the opportunity to explore the techniques used by network security professionals every day. 

Independent learning skills are a critical aspect of this degree. You will take ownership for your own learning throughout the programme, completing directed individual study as well as working on team assignments.  

In Year Three, you’ll be encouraged to take a paid placement year, working in an area related to the programme and in your final year you will take a range of specialist subjects and a major individual project which allows you to tailor your studies to your interests.

The University operates the nuWARP (Warning, Advice & Reporting Point) which forms part of the UK’s Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure. nuWARP offers opportunities for students to engage with local businesses to create and share knowledge, raise awareness of the impact of cybercrime and its impact on business communities as well as hosting workshops on internet safety, online fraud and cybercrime.


Assessments are carefully designed to ensure all students have gained a thorough understanding of their areas of study. The course teaches you a combination of theoretical knowledge and practical skills to ensure you have a rounded appreciation of all aspects of ethical hacking and your assessments – most of which will be in the form of course assignments – will test both elements. In addition, there are some practical assessments and a small number of examinations.


This programme has been awarded Skillsmark Quality Mark, which is the recognised quality mark in Skills for Justice, for learning and development programmes in the Justice, Community, Safety and Legal Services sector. These programmes have been designed to meet their needs, are up-to-date and fit-for-purpose.


With the world's ever-increasing reliance on computers and computer systems, breaches in security have become a greater risk for all organisations and individuals. With many insurance companies requiring organisations to have their systems penetration tested as part of their insurance compliance, there is a growing demand for graduates with skills in computer security.

Graduates find employment in companies such as RandomStorm, BT and Waite IT, as well as in freelance and specialist consultancy firms. You will be attractive to many employers with a skill-set that will enable you to pursue network security or work more generally in computer network architecture.

An annual Employer's Fair takes place in the autumn term for students from all Engineering and Environment disciplines, providing the opportunity to meet a wide range of employers and explore placement and graduate employment opportunities. This is an invaluable networking opportunity and consistently receives excellent feedback from both students and employers who are impressed with the students they meet.


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Northumbria University has taken reasonable care to ensure that the information published is accurate at the time of publication. However, the University gives no warranty or representation as to the quality, accuracy or completeness of the information.